Having seen the Z1000 deposed as top superbike by Honda’s outrageous 6-cyl CBX, it was inevitable that Kawasaki would strike back. Enter the liquid-cooled, shaft-drive, 6-cyl Z1300. Launched in 1979 to a fanfare of superlatives – biggest (1,286cc), most powerful (120hp), fastest (140mph) and indeed heaviest (322kg) – Kawasaki’s new flagship was more of a super-tourer than an outright sports machine. With such prodigious power and weight, the Z1300 could well have been an unmanageable beast but, equipped as standard with rear air suspension, it actually handled “predictably and reassuringly”, according to a Bike magazine review.
The mighty Z1300 boasted an impressive turn of speed, it being quite capable of posting 4-second 0-60mph times, 9-sec 0-100mph times and sub 12-sec ¼-mile times along with a near-140mph max. Despite this blistering performance, the Z13’s power delivery was silky smooth, torquey (85.6lb/ft) and very civilised.
Although considered the ultimate ‘autobahn stormer’ of the day, the Z1300’s size and appreciable running costs meant it sold in limited numbers, particularly in European markets, but its rarity and outlandishness now make the Z1300 a highly sought-after modern classic.
This big Z13 is an original unmolested example with 2,423km showing on the odometer – a mileage commensurate with the bike’s good overall condition. It comes to the sale with its original ignition/seat key, owner’s manual and Italian registration document.